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EDITIONS
Monday, 4 November, 2002, 16:15 GMT
Eminem's label joins net service
Eminem's songs will be available to download
Eminem is among the artists now signed to OD2
Music fans are to have access to songs from the world's largest record company, Universal Music, through fast-growing digital music service OD2.

A new deal means tracks by artists from Eminem and Pulp to Andrea Bocelli and Bond will take the service's catalogue to 150,000 songs.

Pulp will be on OD2
Fans will also have access to songs by bands like Pulp
The service requires fans to pay a monthly subscription to listen to songs on their computers or copy them to blank CDs.

OD2 was co-founded in 1999 by former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel, and has been at the forefront of legitimate music downloading.

Universal is the fourth major music group - after BMG, Warner and EMI and the Association of Independent Music - to sign up for a pan-European deal with OD2.

Music fans can access the songs through the websites of a number of websites, such as the UK sites of HMV and Microsoft.

The deal, the company claims, makes it the largest source of legal music on the internet in the world, ahead of US rivals PressPlay and MusicNet.

The label's songs will be available to download from the middle of November.

OD2 chief executive Charles Grimsdale said: "Universal is a great feather in our cap".

Each subscriber gets given a "bank account" of 500 credits which are exchanged for tracks. The monthly subscription costs around 4.99.

Online solution

Streamed tracks cost 1p, but can only be listened to once. Tracks held on the subscriber's computer can be listened to only as long as they are paying for the service, and cost 10p.

Subscribers can buy tracks that can be "burnt" onto recordable CDs , MP3 players of MiniDiscs. These cost 1.

OD2 recently organised the successful "Digital Download Day", which was designed to attract fans to legitimate download services.

Universal's deal follows their sign-up to the music provider Listen.com in the summer, which was thought to be the first to sign up all of the major record labels.

The record industry has struggled to come up with a viable way to sell online music since the advent of downloadable music technology.

Court battle

This year saw online music share company Napster - a programme which allowed music fans to swap tracks for free over their computers - fold.

It came after a long-running court-battle with musicians and record companies who claimed they were stealing their music.

Record labels have become increasingly nervous about albums being leaked onto the Internet.

The last Eminem album was delayed twice in order to curb piracy, while the debut album by Will Young was played to reviewers on a locked portable CD player so it could not be copied onto computers.

See also:

04 Nov 02 | Entertainment
03 Oct 02 | Entertainment
28 Jan 02 | Entertainment
21 Jan 02 | Entertainment
18 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
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